Many of you know that Steve has been unemployed since last August. The Lord has provided over and over again financially and in other ways. I've taken up couponing and just this morning sat down to add up all my savings over the past 2 months. Since the first of February, I have saved over $500. Because I have been in stockpiling mode, I am just getting to the point of being able to reduce my grocery budget. In other words, up until now, I've spent the same amount of dollars but just gotten MORE groceries for my buck. Now, I have plenty of most everything except perishables and just having to buy those will help to reduce the money I spend at the grocery store tremendously. I started really couponing when my friend Darlene taught me her method. Then I started researching, added some blogs (my favorites being www.faithfulprovisions.com and www.iheartpublix.com) and went to a couple of seminars. I have now fine tuned my couponing method.
Anyway, last month was tough for us. I only get paid once a month and that's on the last business day of the month. February was wonderful because I got paid on the 26th, but then waiting for March 31 was a nightmare. To be honest, we didn't realize the month would be so long (very poor planning on our part) and there was just not enough money in the bank. I honestly didn't know how we were going to make ends meet. Steve and I had several really bad days. I won't go into what those consisted of, but it did entail crying at work and at home for both of us.
But the point of this story (yes, I promise there IS one), is to tell you how God showed up. I finally got paid and our money came in to pay our taxes (long story there) and so for the time being, we had some breathing room. I found time Thursday night to sit down and balance our checkbook, get our April budget down on paper and pay our bills. I sat for a while and stared at the budget line that says "tithe". I will admit, I reduced our tithe when Steve lost his job, but did not reduce it further when his part time job at the church ended. I had prayed over my last tithe check before putting it in the plate a few weeks ago because I knew the rest of March would be rough. Sure enough, I was right. But anyway, I sat here and debated on whether or not I would write my tithe out. And after just a short time, I knew I had to. My friend Amy told me recently, "You can't outgive God". And I believe that to be true. So, I wrote the check out and stuck in my check book without further thought.
On Friday morning, I got a call from my neighbor Tim. You might remember Tim and Aimee were instrumental in helping us raise money to get Katie. Tim works for a local well-known physical therapy company and they had put their name behind the fundraising pancake breakfast. I could not figure out why Tim would be calling me on Friday morning at work, so I answered a little unnerved worrying that maybe something had happened to Steve (who was home with Jenna and most likely still in bed). Tim tells me that he was at the office for an early morning meeting and the staff was asking about his "friend with the dog". Tim told them about Steve getting Katie and how it's changed our life. They then pulled out an envelope with $200 cash in it that they had raised last summer and just never given to us. EXCUSE ME?! Yes...Happy Easter no doubt. So, God had basically given me back almost every dime in tithe that I had budgeted to give. But He wasn't done yet.
Yesterday at noon, Steve and Jenna are leaving to go to the movies (while I'm slaving away at work) when they stop by the mailbox to collect the mail. In the mailbox, there is an envelope addressed to us in what is clearly meant to be unrecognizable handwriting. Inside is an Easter card with $100 gift card to Kroger. I'm just tearing up writing this. No name, no signature. Nothing to tell me who my generous benefactor might be. At this point, God has not only given me back my tithe, but now gone above and beyond. The $100 will be spent on meat that can be frozen to further reduce my grocery budget. Now, I know not everyone who reads my blog believes the way I do, but there is no way you are going to convince me this was anything other than God's providence. I had only shared with a couple friends about our dilemma. And while I honestly don't have any idea of who sent this, I do have a message for them that I hope they read:
Thank you. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God to teach me further about the love of friends and God's providence for our needs when we are faithful. I do not know who you are to repay you, but please be assured, I will pay it forward when we are able. Thank you for your generosity. Not only did Steve and I see God's hand at work, but so did my new little Christian Jenna. I pray that you are exceedingly and abundantly blessed for your extraordinary act of kindness.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10 NIV